Bulldog defense too much for Cougars

6 years ago

BANGOR, Maine — Machias rode an active halfcourt zone defense and some timely shooting by senior forward Alex Marotta to yet another win on the Cross Insurance Center floor Monday.

The defending state champion Bulldogs held Katahdin to its second-lowest scoring output of the season in taking the Class D North boys basketball quarterfinal, 56-47. No. 6 Machias (12-7) will play either Jonesport-Beals or Southern Aroostook in Thursday’s semifinal round game at 7:05 p.m.

The third-ranked Cougars finished up at 13-6.

Machias started slowly, making just one field goal in the first 5:10 of the game, and trailed at one point, 9-2. But thanks to an effective zone, which switched between a 3-2 and 2-3 formation, the Bulldog defense started holding down the Cougar attack.

“They have quick hands and feet, and are quick to the ball,” said Katahdin coach Jamey McNally. “They were getting around us and anticipating a little better and any 50-50 balls they were getting to.”

Katahdin went on a nine-minute stretch connecting on only one of 18 field goal attempts, and Jordan Grant’s short jump shot with 5 minutes left in the first half put Machias up, 19-12.

“We just tried to lock down their big two scorers [Hunter Craig and Brody Guiggey] and take them out of the solution,” Grant said. “We used the zone in the state game last year and we found success in it, so that’s carried over into this year.”

The Cougars then went on a 7-0 run, capped by John McNally’s 3-pointer, to tie it, but Machias answered and went into intermission up 26-22.

Guiggey (nine third-quarter points) helped draw Katahdin to within a point (30-29) with 5:15 remaining in the third, but Marotta scored five consecutive points and the Cougars never got closer the rest of the way.

Marotta poured in 23 points, while classmate Jordan Grant (5 for 22 from the field) suffered through a tough shooting night but still ended up with 16. Big man Tyler Wentzell (six points) hauled in a team-high 14 rebounds.

Guiggey and Craig were held to a combined 8-for-34 from the floor. Guiggey scored 16 points and Rig Otero posted 13, including three 3-pointers, to lead Katahdin’s offense.